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Parking Lot Series: Clayton Missouri the Famous Barr Store

The Famous Barr Store chain was headquartered in St. Louis, Missouri, the first store opened there during 1914 in the center of the City. This store, one of six branch stores in the greater St.Louis area began operating in October of 1948 in Clayton, Missouri, at Forsyth Boulevard and Jackson Avenue. Across the Boulevard from the store is the Pevely Dairy and fountain.

This image apparently was taken shortly after the Store opened in 1948. The large parking lot and the vehicles parked there have been broken up into two enlargeable photos below so the automobiles are visible in better detail.

Over one hundred and thirty other parking facility images can be viewed in The Parking Lot Series. Share with us what you find of interest in this photo courtesy of the Missouri Historical Society.

21 responses to “Parking Lot Series: Clayton Missouri the Famous Barr Store

  1. OK all you eagle-eyes, this one’s for you! Would love to ID a few, but I’d be here until next Tuesday doing so. (I never even heard of this store chain; were they eventually bought out by another?)

    • The parent company for Famous Barr department stores was the May Company who eventually was bought by Macys as David said. The headquarters for the May Company was located downtown St. Louis in the historic Railway Exchange building. The Railway Exchange building still stands today and is a historic landmark.

    • It was one of the May Company’s regional department stores, which included stores like Filene’s (New England and New York), Foley’s (Texas and neighboring states), Hecht’s (Mid-Atlantic), Kaufmann’s (Western PA, Ohio, New York, and West Virginia), and L. S. Ayres (Indiana, Kentucky, Illinois, Ohio), as well as eventually owning national chain Lord & Taylor.

        • Very likely, since May Co. department stores date clear back to 1900s in downtown L.A. (building steel/stone still stands) and they were a dominant department store chain throught all of So. Cal. until they became part of Macy’s in 1980-90’s. Their most famous and beautiful store in “modern” styling with gorgeous gold mosaic tile treatment on the corner of the building is near the huge Park LaBrea Towers residential area and sits directly across the street of the Petersen Auto Museum at corner of Wilshire Blvd. and Fairfax Ave. in the Miracle Mile District of L.A. developed in the 1950s. Building is now being re-fitted (internally) as another new museum in this museum row neighborhood along Wilshire Blvd.

  2. In the double row on the right are two unique vehicles in this lot: A 5 window coupe(Chevrolet?) with a spare tire on the back and a wooden station wagon (Mercury?) facing it.

    • David,

      There’s a step-down HUDSON, in the lead picture, in the 1st double row on the left, parked on the right just beyond the three empty parking spaces. It can be seen a little better in the 2nd picture.


  3. I remember it well, having grown up in St Louis. The May company was a pioneer in locating branch stores in the suburbs. At one time a new subdivision set up a “display house on this parking lot. The building remains but has been completely reconfigured for other uses.

  4. Well, I don’t see any motorcycles today, David, but I do see one person in a black car three rows from the left that can’t follow the painted directional arrow, and I’m also wondering what the two guys on the roof of the store are up to??…great pics as always..

  5. In the lead photograph, lower right corner [in the 1st double row], five cars back, is a light-colored, two-door 1947 to ’49 STUDEBAKER Commander Sedan and in the next row to the left, four cars back, is a light-colored STUDEBACKER Starlight. Was able to identify these two vehicles by enlarging the 3rd picture 5X.

  6. In the 3rd photograph, upper left corner of picture, is what looks like it could be a dark, with black top, 1949 BUICK convertible.

  7. Nothing is new today. I see that drivers back in those days could not park properly in angled spaces either.

  8. Yes, without enlarging, ID’ing can be tough. While looking over body styles, Something struck In photo #4 (last) the lower left is a white sedan encroaching into the row behind it. It appears to be one of them there straight eights. ala Chrysler New Yorker.

  9. A lot more mid to late ’30s cars than I have come to expect in a late ’40s parking lot photo. I don’t know why, but I remember a lot of cars from the ’30’s era in daily use when I was growing up in the ’50s. However, in most of the Parking Lot series posted on here, I usually see very few cars of ten years age.
    One car I think I can identify, waiting in line to leave the parking lot, appears to be a Packard convertible, of about ‘1936/7/8, with side mounted spare tires, and a white top. I could be wrong about it being a Packard, the detail isn’t great. However my first glance screamed “Packard”, and the more I looked, the more I talked myself into it.

  10. My father was one of the store’s opening managers, this photo brings back many memories. The building in the upper left corner was originally a barn for the Pevely horse drawn delivery wagons. The Famous Barr executives were allowed to park in there.

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